Lawmaker's proposal could restore nearly $11 million to UM System

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JEFFERSON CITY - Facing ongoing budget battles, the University of Missouri System announced it may consider potential layoffs of staff and non tenure track faculty as a way to bridge budget gaps.

Now a budget proposal by state Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, could restore nearly $11 million to the UM System, potentially reducing the extent of possible personnel cuts and tuition increases.

Without the $11 million restoration, the UM System's total proposed state budget cuts for fiscal year 2018 amount to about $40 million.

Brown's budget proposal would restore $10.9 million to the UM System's core funding.

According to Missouri law, the state budget must reach the governor's desk by May 5. Between now and then, the Senate appropriations committee must finish reviewing the budget and the full Senate must approve it. Then, a conference committee of senators and representatives must reconcile both chambers' proposals, and the committee's spending plan must be approved by both the House and the Senate before it is sent to the governor.

Although the restored funding for the UM System has some way to go, UM System administrators said they are hopeful the funding will remain in place.

In a statement to KOMU, UM System spokesperson John Fougere said, "We are extremely pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee restored $10.9 million to the UM System's core funding, and are especially appreciative of the leadership provided by Senator Dan Brown, the chair of the committee, in moving our budget forward."

At a press conference in March, UM System President Mun Choi discussed the possibility of raising tuition to increase UM System revenues.

But in order to increase tuition above Missouri's statutory limit, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index, the UM System would first need to obtain a waiver and the Department of Higher Education's approval.

In a "System Budget Guidance" document distributed to UM System faculty and staff, UM System administrators said they would strive to "protect programs of excellence for faculty research and creative works, student outcomes, community engagement and financial aid."